One of the maestras, shared her experiences on growing up in a community where womxn have not traditionally been allowed behind the drums. When she decided to pursue the journey of learning anyways, she took it as a very big responsibility: She spent her life seeking out maestros and maestras, learning from their lessons and working very hard. “When I get behind the drum I am a different person: It is a shield from the rest of the world.”
Following up to these thoughts, Iris Viveros suggested that through music we disrupt things as they are, and we create something else apart: She mentioned something that I’ve thought about many times, which is that music and especially this kind of community dance, we fight the neoliberal notions of individualism, and we realize that without the context of our traditions and oral histories, we don’t make sense, the artistic process is not complete. Herself as a graduate student, she commented how competition is incentivized between students. Be the first one to do this, achieve this before anyone else! At some point it’s very easy to let your goals losen in between this frenetic competitive spirit that in some way yes, it motivates us to get to different places, but at the same time it creates a lot of stress in the individual, and it tricks us into believing that we are in this journey by ourselves.
One time I found myself pushing my partner to also take on these kinds of challenges: He loves reading all kinds of books, but most importantly comic books and graphic novels. It was his biggest passion as a kid, and now as a young adult his journey continues. Every time I let the anxieties of future and this neoliberal world take on me he reminds me, my goal for life is to read every single comic book/graphic novel”. Let me be on my journey, on getting to know the different artists. I do not seek money or titles, stability. I seek freedom and a community. I will not die of stress and a poor live, stripped of community and art. These words resounded very well within me as I later spoke with Iris Viveros.
She commented how she knows many professors who have passed away of cancer, how it is so strictly linked with stress and anxiety. And how being part of communities that celebrate dance like this one, can help so much. We are meant to join these kind of practices, aren’t we? When I was looking at the children during the event having fun next to their parents who were relaxed as well, it reminded me how “an entire village is needed to raise a child”, and I reminded myself how we should never treat ourselves as if we had grown up all the way, and we did not need of that village to continue educating each other.
That is how I have decided that I will start looking for dance classes and overall, for a community like this to join and to learn from!